Counseling

Counseling is a process of working together to identify areas for growth. At LCFS, counselors assist clients in
building on their strengths to help them and those they love lead healthier and fuller lives.

Who can benefit from counseling?

In everyone’s life there are times when difficulties arise. Sometimes these issues can seem overwhelming, causing a person to feel hurt, angry, misunderstood, confused or without hope. At times like these, professional counselors at Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois (LCFS) can help address those situations so that individuals can move forward with their lives.

LCFS_OurClientStories18

A holistic approach

Through counseling, clients gain new perspectives on their situations and focus on practical solutions. Counselors draw on their professional training and skills to meet the unique needs of each individual, couple or family. When appropriate, and in consultation with the client, counselors work as a team with other professionals such as pastors, teachers, physicians and juvenile court personnel.

Counselors respect the privacy of all clients.

Counseling often involves:

  • Working through unresolved issues
  • Developing new and more effective ways of coping
  • Discovering options for problem-solving
  • Facilitating clear communication
  • Building and strengthening relationships
  • Learning to experience God’s forgiving love more fully
  • Helping clients manage and create life goals

Counseling

Services

Types of counseling services offered by LCFS include:

  • Individual and family counseling: working to heal the hurt

    There are times in our lives when we all need someone to talk to. Perhaps it is a struggle with marriage or children. Or, maybe our lives are in a period of transition and we need help coping with the changes. LCFS has counselors at many sites in Illinois who can help.

    Counseling is intended for individuals, couples or families in difficult situations such as:

    • Those experiencing a personal or family crisis
    • Those experiencing stress or continued dissatisfaction with work, home or school
    • A person who feels depressed or has suicidal thoughts
    • Family members dealing with a loved one’s alcoholism, drug use or other addictions
    • Parents concerned about their child’s behavior in school
    • An individual or family struggling with a history of sexual or physical abuse
    • A couple needing help resolving conflicts
    • A person having difficulty making life decisions
  • Trauna-informed services: From trauma to resilience

    Who can benefit from trauma-informed therapy?

    Traumatic experiences can occur to anyone at any stage in his/her life. At times like these, professional counselors at LCFS can help address those situations so that individuals can move forward with their lives. LCFS utilizes trauma-informed therapy processes that can help reduce the symptoms of trauma across all age levels.

    Trauma-informed therapy is intended for individuals who have experienced a significant loss or trauma such as:

    • Violent incident
    • History of physical or sexual abuse
    • Accidental sudden death
    • Critical injury
    • Terminal illness
    • Military-related trauma
    • Loss of home
    • Natural disaster
    • Divorce
    • Separation from family

    What does trauma-informed mean?

    LCFS looks at people’s lives in the context of their life experiences. We recognize that trauma may create a barrier to reaching full potential. We assist clients to cope with and recover from past traumas so that their functioning is enhanced and they can thrive.

    Why is trauma-informed important?

    Many children and adults have experienced trauma. Trauma is an emotional shock that creates significant and lasting damage to a person’s mental, physical and emotional growth. The primary goals of trauma-informed therapy are empowerment and recovery through a collaborative relationship.

    What strategies are used?

    LCFS focuses on helping people recover from trauma by using the client as a guide to determine what that means. In order to help the client reconnect to the community and reach his/her life goals, we focus on:

    • Developing a sense of safety
    • Coping with the effects of trauma
    • Restructuring the client’s life

    We utilize evidence-based practices focused on trauma as well as other treatment approaches to create solutions and to enhance recovery.

  • Pre-marital and marital counseling: Building strong marriages for today and tomorrow

    If you are considering marriage, engaged, married or wish to strengthen your relationship with your significant other, LCFS counselors can provide couples with pre-marital and marital counseling.

    Some LCFS counselors are also certified in a marriage preparation and enrichment program called PREPARE/ENRICH.

    The PREPARE/ENRICH process includes five inventories that stimulate discussion and increase mutual understanding among couples and help couples identify their strengths and growth areas. The inventories are easy to administer and produce results that are helpful to the couple and the counselor.

    Inventory topics

      Each inventory is a 165-item questionnaire that focuses on areas such as:

    • Communication
    • Financial management
    • Leisure activities
    • Family and friends
    • Marital roles
    • Religious orientation
    • Conflict resolution
    • Relationship dynamics from each partner’s family

    Other topics such as health and retirement are included in the inventory for couples over 50 years old.

    In several studies couples report an increase in their mutual understanding, increased resolution of conflicts and differences and greater satisfaction in their relationship after completing the PREPARE/ENRICH program.

  • Domestic violence offender services

    AWARE: Assertive Ways to Address Relationship Equality

    The AWARE program is designed to help individuals who have been abusive in their relationships to become AWARE of:

    • How their behavior influences people around them
    • How their past affects their behavior today
    • How to develop healthy, safe and equal relationships
    • How to be assertive in relationships rather than aggressive
    • How to stop the cycle of violence

    Currently this program is only offered through LCFS’ Springfield office locations. To access the program, call 800-363-LCFS (5237). A comprehensive assessment is conducted to determine the nature and severity of the abuse. When individuals are determined appropriate for the group program, they complete at least 26 weekly sessions that cover topics such as:

    • Power and control
    • Gender equality
    • Anger management skills, especially skills for handling immediate conflicts
    • Coping skills and expression of a full range of emotions
    • Communication strategies
    • Resolution of past issues
    • Causes and forms of domestic violence


    Group leaders encourage participants to think about their relationships differently by:

    • Promoting attitudes associated with healthy relationships such as safe and equal partnerships and equal rights of both partners
    • Challenging attitudes associated with abusive behaviors by encouraging full responsibility for the behaviors and the ability to stop


    Successful completion requires living a non-abusive lifestyle as evidenced by positive attitudes towards healthy and safe relationships and application of skills. Program requirements are tailored to the individual needs of group members.

    “These skills have made me a better person. Being aware of these now has helped me and will continue to the rest of my life. I had never seen or heard any of this before so I didn’t know it.” — Participant comment

  • Employee counseling: Helping your people — your most valuable resource

    If you are a business owner or work in human resources

    You know that employees are the heart and hands of any company. LCFS can help you provide employee counseling and support services to your employees at minimal cost. We can help you show that you care about them, that you’re there to help when a disaster strikes, when family or personal problems arise or when they struggle to replace self-destructive behaviors with positive, life-enhancing ones. The end result for you is a more stable, more productive work force and reduced operating costs for your organization.

    LCFS offers a wide range of services:

    • Assessment and referral
    • On-site crisis intervention
    • Professional consultation
    • Ongoing counseling available for individuals, couples and families
    • Support groups and other group programs
    • Brown-bag prevention education programs

    Preventive services

    LCFS also provides preventive services, depending on your company’s needs; LCFS can provide customized workshops, such as brown-bag lunches at your facility on topics such as:

    • Substance abuse education and prevention
    • Signs and symptoms of depression
    • Signs and symptoms of anxiety
    • Domestic violence
    • Prevention of child abuse and neglect
    • Parenting
    • Conflict resolution
    • Communication techniques
    • Grief recovery

    Cost

    LCFS’ employee counseling and support services are economical for you because there are no large up-front costs, and you pay only for the services you use. Furthermore, LCFS can customize the program to meet your budget requirements.

  • Family Life Education: Learning and growing together

    There are many issues of common interest and concern that can be aired and discussed in a group setting. The LCFS Family Life Education program can develop and present workshops and presentations that address your issues of concern.

    Common topics include:

    • Family
    • Marriage
    • Parenting
    • Singles
    • Women’s issues
    • Stress
    • Education
    • Substance abuse

    Family Life Education was developed to complement the efforts of churches and schools to strengthen and enrich family relationships. It’s also a way that your church or school can reach out to your community.

    If your church, school or community group is looking for a way to bring people together to learn and share ideas on the major issues affecting today’s families, consider LCFS’ Family Life Education program.

Fees

There is a fee for counseling services. Insurance coverage may pay part or all of the cost and some services may be covered by the client’s employee-assistance program or managed-care arrangements at work. Affordable rates are also available for school counseling and organizational services.

LCFS offers counseling at affordable rates based on family size and income. Cost should not be a barrier to obtaining services. As needed, LCFS will work closely with the client to achieve a fee structure that is within the client’s ability to pay. For information about insurance and fee issues, call LCFS at 800-363-LCFS (5237).

Also contact your insurance company to determine what counseling services are covered.

Qualified counselors

LCFS counselors bring a wealth of professional experience. They receive ongoing clinical training, are state licensed and hold degrees in counseling, psychology, social work or allied fields. Because of the staff’s wide range of specializations, LCFS is well equipped to address many complex situations such as trauma-informed counseling to reduce the long-term effects of traumatic events.

Counselors have chosen to work at LCFS because of its mission and values and are dedicated to reaching out with care and compassion.

Counselor bios

Learn more about LCFS’ counselors who can help you lead healthier and fuller lives.

  • Central Illinois

    Bloomington office

    Stephanie Davingman, MSW, MS, CADC, LCSW, LMFT, CCT, is the clinical program manager for LCFS’ Central Region. She has worked for LCFS for almost 15 years. She is certified in child trauma and alcohol and other drug-abuse counseling and licensed as a marriage and family therapist and clinical social worker. Throughout her 20 year professional career, she has worked with a variety of problem areas in a variety of settings including a residential camp, a child welfare agency, outpatient counseling, schools and a substance-abuse agency. She has done numerous trainings and presentations at agencies and at statewide conferences and won an award for distinguished service through the Illinois Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Her commitment is to provide support to her staff so that they can help families heal and thrive despite the challenges they face.

    David Ehlers, LCPC came to LCFS from McLean County Center for Human Services. David had extensive experience at the Center working with persons with mental-health issues ranging from mild to severe, and diagnosing and counseling such persons is one of his strengths. David is currently a part-time pastor for a Lutheran church in Bloomington and has a long history of spiritually-based counseling. He has a special desire to work with members of the clergy or church staff. David has an MA from Bradley University in Peoria. His experience includes dealing with a variety of concerns/issues through counseling, and he can provide individual, couple, marital and family counseling to help address your particular situation.

    Decatur office

    Catherine Bockmier-Sommers

    Karma Carpenter

    Springfield office

    Gina Braham, LCSW, is a social worker who came to LCFS to work with individuals and families facing a wide range of issues. Prior to coming to LCFS, she worked within the criminal justice system as a program coordinator and social worker working with crime victims with disabilities, particularly those who had been victims of domestic violence and/or sex crimes. She has experience working with clients with significant trauma histories, traumatic grief/loss and mental health concerns. Gina is co-facilitator of the AWARE program in Springfield and Decatur. She enjoys counseling clients using the person in environment perspective, which acknowledges the impact of the environment individuals live in and the capacity for change within each individual.

    Angell Mack

  • Southern Illinois

    Belleville office

    Khaola Shalabi, MS, LCPC is a licensed therapist who has worked with individuals and families at LCFS since 2006. She earned a B.A. in psychology in 1991 and an M.S. in counseling and guidance in 1995, both from California State University, San Bernardino. Prior to coming to LCFS, she spent ten years working as a counselor in both elementary and middle-school settings. She is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but applies a multi-faceted approach that is tailored to each client’s individual needs. Khaola is experienced in working with individuals of all ages and families on a variety of issues including, but not limited to, coping with divorce and co-parenting effectively, the effects of abuse and trauma, behavior management strategies, grief/loss issues, anxiety and depression.

    Linda Heap, MA, LCPC is the Southern Region clinical manager for Lutheran Child and Family Services and has worked for the agency for five years. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, with more than 20 years of experience working as a counselor in the community, in the foster-care system and in a residential facility serving a diverse clientele population ranging in age from young children to the elderly. Linda is committed to educating families about the effects of trauma and helping children and adults achieve a happier, healthier life.

    Lori A. McAllister, LCPC, who earned her Master of Arts Professional Counseling (MAPC) from McKendree University, is a licensed therapist who enjoys working with children, adolescents and adults of all ages. Lori is a former military spouse who understands the special needs of military families who deal with deployments and frequent moves and resulting mental-health issues. Lori has extensive experience supporting those from various backgrounds who have experienced trauma, are having difficulty managing life with loss and change and guiding those who are having difficulty with stage-of-life issues. Lori is experienced with evidence-based trauma therapy utilizing play-therapy techniques with children, client-centered therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy and mindfulness techniques, which includes meditation and visualization.

    Mount Vernon office

    Lacy Woolsey is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) who has been with LCFS since 2010. She earned her master’s degree in professional counseling from Lindenwood University in 2006 and her bachelor’s degree in social work from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2002. In addition to counseling, Lacy has several years experience as a licensed child-welfare specialist and holds a CADC (Certified Alcohol and other Drug Counselor). She has had extensive training in trauma-informed therapies and specializes in treating complex trauma in both children and adults. Lacy takes a person-centered, strengths-based approach to helping individuals and families. She has experience in several treatment modalities, which allows her the ability to tailor the counseling process to meet the specific needs and diversity of her clients. Lacy has worked with a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, grief and loss, behavior management, adjusting to life changes and parenting. She has also worked with military families in order to help them address issues specific to their circumstances.

    Annette Walls, MAPC received a bachelor’s degree in art education in 2012 from McKendree University. The following summer, she worked as an art camp counselor at Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, teaching kindergarten-aged children. After discovering her desire to take her passion for working with kids a bit further, Annette pursued her Master of Arts in professional counseling and received her degree in December 2014 from McKendree University. She has also been trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Annette is in the process of obtaining her Licensed Professional Counselor certification (LPC). For the past decade, Annette has been a youth-ministry leader at her church in Marion, Illinois. The last two years she has dedicated her free time to working as a Sunday School teacher providing her experience to working with children from various socioeconomic backgrounds. Throughout her experiences, Annette believes “the most rewarding aspect of the work I do is helping people build their self-awareness and free themselves from their troubling circumstances.”

LCFS is interested in linking you with a counselor whom you can connect with and who meets your needs. We offer counseling at several sites throughout Illinois. To schedule an initial appointment with a LCFS counselor call 800-363-LCFS (5237).

LCFS offers counseling at the following locations:

Central Illinois

Trinity Lutheran School

1102 W. Hamilton

Bloomington, IL 61704


LCFS Program Office

433 W. Pershing Road

Decatur, IL 62526

 

LCFS Program Office

431 S. Grand Avenue West

Springfield, IL 62704

Southern Illinois

LCFS Program Office

317 West Main Street

Belleville, IL 62220


LCFS Program Office

800 S. 45th Street, Wells Bypass

Mt. Vernon, IL 62864

Services

Types of counseling services offered by LCFS include:

  • Individual and family counseling: working to heal the hurt

    There are times in our lives when we all need someone to talk to. Perhaps it is a struggle with marriage or children. Or, maybe our lives are in a period of transition and we need help coping with the changes. LCFS has counselors at many sites in Illinois who can help.

    Counseling is intended for individuals, couples or families in difficult situations such as:

    • Those experiencing a personal or family crisis
    • Those experiencing stress or continued dissatisfaction with work, home or school
    • A person who feels depressed or has suicidal thoughts
    • Family members dealing with a loved one’s alcoholism, drug use or other addictions
    • Parents concerned about their child’s behavior in school
    • An individual or family struggling with a history of sexual or physical abuse
    • A couple needing help resolving conflicts
    • A person having difficulty making life decisions
  • Trauna-informed services: From trauma to resilience

    Who can benefit from trauma-informed therapy?

    Traumatic experiences can occur to anyone at any stage in his/her life. At times like these, professional counselors at LCFS can help address those situations so that individuals can move forward with their lives. LCFS utilizes trauma-informed therapy processes that can help reduce the symptoms of trauma across all age levels.

    Trauma-informed therapy is intended for individuals who have experienced a significant loss or trauma such as:

    • Violent incident
    • History of physical or sexual abuse
    • Accidental sudden death
    • Critical injury
    • Terminal illness
    • Military-related trauma
    • Loss of home
    • Natural disaster
    • Divorce
    • Separation from family

    What does trauma-informed mean?

    LCFS looks at people’s lives in the context of their life experiences. We recognize that trauma may create a barrier to reaching full potential. We assist clients to cope with and recover from past traumas so that their functioning is enhanced and they can thrive.

    Why is trauma-informed important?

    Many children and adults have experienced trauma. Trauma is an emotional shock that creates significant and lasting damage to a person’s mental, physical and emotional growth. The primary goals of trauma-informed therapy are empowerment and recovery through a collaborative relationship.

    What strategies are used?

    LCFS focuses on helping people recover from trauma by using the client as a guide to determine what that means. In order to help the client reconnect to the community and reach his/her life goals, we focus on:

    • Developing a sense of safety
    • Coping with the effects of trauma
    • Restructuring the client’s life

    We utilize evidence-based practices focused on trauma as well as other treatment approaches to create solutions and to enhance recovery.

  • Pre-marital and marital counseling: Building strong marriages for today and tomorrow

    If you are considering marriage, engaged, married or wish to strengthen your relationship with your significant other, LCFS counselors can provide couples with pre-marital and marital counseling.

    Some LCFS counselors are also certified in a marriage preparation and enrichment program called PREPARE/ENRICH.

    The PREPARE/ENRICH process includes five inventories that stimulate discussion and increase mutual understanding among couples and help couples identify their strengths and growth areas. The inventories are easy to administer and produce results that are helpful to the couple and the counselor.

    Inventory topics

      Each inventory is a 165-item questionnaire that focuses on areas such as:

    • Communication
    • Financial management
    • Leisure activities
    • Family and friends
    • Marital roles
    • Religious orientation
    • Conflict resolution
    • Relationship dynamics from each partner’s family

    Other topics such as health and retirement are included in the inventory for couples over 50 years old.

    In several studies couples report an increase in their mutual understanding, increased resolution of conflicts and differences and greater satisfaction in their relationship after completing the PREPARE/ENRICH program.

  • Domestic violence offender services

    AWARE: Assertive Ways to Address Relationship Equality

    The AWARE program is designed to help individuals who have been abusive in their relationships to become AWARE of:

    • How their behavior influences people around them
    • How their past affects their behavior today
    • How to develop healthy, safe and equal relationships
    • How to be assertive in relationships rather than aggressive
    • How to stop the cycle of violence

    Currently this program is only offered through LCFS’ Springfield office locations. To access the program, call 800-363-LCFS (5237). A comprehensive assessment is conducted to determine the nature and severity of the abuse. When individuals are determined appropriate for the group program, they complete at least 26 weekly sessions that cover topics such as:

    • Power and control
    • Gender equality
    • Anger management skills, especially skills for handling immediate conflicts
    • Coping skills and expression of a full range of emotions
    • Communication strategies
    • Resolution of past issues
    • Causes and forms of domestic violence


    Group leaders encourage participants to think about their relationships differently by:

    • Promoting attitudes associated with healthy relationships such as safe and equal partnerships and equal rights of both partners
    • Challenging attitudes associated with abusive behaviors by encouraging full responsibility for the behaviors and the ability to stop


    Successful completion requires living a non-abusive lifestyle as evidenced by positive attitudes towards healthy and safe relationships and application of skills. Program requirements are tailored to the individual needs of group members.

    “These skills have made me a better person. Being aware of these now has helped me and will continue to the rest of my life. I had never seen or heard any of this before so I didn’t know it.” — Participant comment

  • Employee counseling: Helping your people — your most valuable resource

    If you are a business owner or work in human resources

    You know that employees are the heart and hands of any company. LCFS can help you provide employee counseling and support services to your employees at minimal cost. We can help you show that you care about them, that you’re there to help when a disaster strikes, when family or personal problems arise or when they struggle to replace self-destructive behaviors with positive, life-enhancing ones. The end result for you is a more stable, more productive work force and reduced operating costs for your organization.

    LCFS offers a wide range of services:

    • Assessment and referral
    • On-site crisis intervention
    • Professional consultation
    • Ongoing counseling available for individuals, couples and families
    • Support groups and other group programs
    • Brown-bag prevention education programs

    Preventive services

    LCFS also provides preventive services, depending on your company’s needs; LCFS can provide customized workshops, such as brown-bag lunches at your facility on topics such as:

    • Substance abuse education and prevention
    • Signs and symptoms of depression
    • Signs and symptoms of anxiety
    • Domestic violence
    • Prevention of child abuse and neglect
    • Parenting
    • Conflict resolution
    • Communication techniques
    • Grief recovery

    Cost

    LCFS’ employee counseling and support services are economical for you because there are no large up-front costs, and you pay only for the services you use. Furthermore, LCFS can customize the program to meet your budget requirements.

  • Family Life Education: Learning and growing together

    There are many issues of common interest and concern that can be aired and discussed in a group setting. The LCFS Family Life Education program can develop and present workshops and presentations that address your issues of concern.

    Common topics include:

    • Family
    • Marriage
    • Parenting
    • Singles
    • Women’s issues
    • Stress
    • Education
    • Substance abuse

    Family Life Education was developed to complement the efforts of churches and schools to strengthen and enrich family relationships. It’s also a way that your church or school can reach out to your community.

    If your church, school or community group is looking for a way to bring people together to learn and share ideas on the major issues affecting today’s families, consider LCFS’ Family Life Education program.

To make a first-time appointment:

To schedule an initial appointment with a LCFS counselor call 800-363-LCFS (5237) or complete our Contact Us form. A trained intake counselor will schedule your appointment with a counselor nearest you. The initial call is also an opportunity to discuss any questions you may have about insurance and fee arrangements. The privacy of all callers is respected.